Gary in 1999
Gary Harkins, Jr.
  • 18 years old
  • Date of birth: Oct 30, 1980
  • Place of birth:
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • Date of passing: Apr 17, 1999
  • Place of passing:
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Let the memory of Gary be with us forever

This memorial website was created in memory of, Gary Harkins, Jr.(AKA Gusman).   We will remember you Gary forever.

Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by Terryann Donato on 13th April 2014

"Hi  cutie pie.,  I  am  soo sorry  that  when  you  passed.,  I  wasnt there  to say goodbye  like  everyone else.,  I was in  Florida  and  just  could not be there  in time.,  it hurts me to this day.,  You  were the sweetest, and cutest little thing. (No matter how old you were still little to me lol) I  do not remember where you guys lived but I remember a birthdayparty at your house.,  and  we were eating  I believe was MC DONALDS  and  you took  1 bite  and  you chewed it  for  like  32 minutes  and  we were all  done eating  but you  and  it was just  so funny  and  cute  and soo memorable  to me  and  both my brothers.   I love  and  miss you soo much.<3"

This tribute was added by John West on 12th April 2014

"My dear sister,i remember the shyness that Gary had about him,and that same crooked half a smile.and Michele,i know how much you miss him.Gary and Carmine's passing's ripped a big hole in all our live's, Just like the loss of Kevin,but i believe they are all going to be with us again.Peace family.Some of us were so much worse as teenager's and God gave us a way,so i have to believe they also had their time of salvation.They were very special,each in their own way."

This tribute was added by Linna Connor on 10th April 2014

"He is always on my mind. I think of him anytime I have to pass by Stevens Rd and I still get a lump in my throat because I still can't believe God would take him, him of all the people he could have taken but then I remember what I once heard, God always takes the good ones early... I will always remember him as a kid, my dearest friend's kid brother, because that's the last time I seen him. May he rest in peace"

This tribute was added by Fred West on 10th April 2014

"Miss his smile! Even if it wasn't always the biggest, and a lil crooked. He was my first real friend and I loved him so much. Hope heaven is as awesome as I think it's gonna be!  Love ya cuz!!!!"

This tribute was added by Marylou Welch on 9th April 2014

"I would like to share how the Lord got me through the death of my son Gary
When my son Gary was 16, like most teens started to act out, got involved with the wrong crowd and then he started drinking and trying drugs. I remember having a horrible nightmare that he was found dead, face down on someone’s lawn, I woke shaking and crying.  I prayed and said God I hand this problem over to you, please show me what I need to do.  I prayed every time he left the house for God to protect and keep him safe.  One weekend he wanted to go to his dads. I didn’t want him to go because of the dream, but I took him against my better judgment, I thought I’ll talk to him in the car.  We talked about his current friends, his drinking, the drugs, and his cigarettes.  I asked, do you have any friends that don’t do those things and he said there is one kid, he goes to Calvary/Philadelphia with his Mom and his friend said to him, you should come, the Pastor is pretty cool.  I was happy to hear that, and so Gary and I agreed we would go the next Sunday, and so I felt better about dropping him off but, before we got to his Dads I said, Gary do me a favor how about when you hang with these guys, you can smoke all the cigarettes you want because that was the least of my problems I have with you, but, I want you for the whole weekend, to not drink or do any drugs and see how your friends receive you, if they tease you Gary, they are not your friends because friends only want the best for you.  While walking home that night Gary was killed by a hit and run and was found later that night on a neighbor’s lawn.  Gary did keep his promise to me, when they investigated nothing was found in Gary’s system.
I got through the funeral without a tear, and I know it was all Jesus.  Two months later we moved into a new house, I was still working every day.  While it seemed I had it all together I didn’t.  I had a routine as I drove to work I would cry until I got to this certain gas station, because I knew if I stopped at the point, I could compose myself, and no one would know I was crying. I hid my grief and felt that if I didn’t stand strong I must not be a good Christian.  I never reached out for help and because of that I fell into a deep depression, about 3 months later I just couldn’t function at all so I left my job.  This only isolated me more.  That led me into a very dark place, sometimes I didn’t get out bed until 4pm just in time to look presentable and cook diner. I remember I woke one Saturday morning and I could smell roses, I got up went outside to look at them and found myself ripping them from the roots all 12.  While I piled them in the back yard, my husband came home from work and said “what’s up” and I said “I got rid of the roses”, and he said “I see that” went in the house and never said a word.  About a week later I woke to birds singing in this tree in front of our house and was instantly angry, I got this little hand saw and pruners cut it down, my Husband pulled up from work I was on the front step and he said “Marilu where is the tree” and I pointed to the bags at the curb.  He said how did you do that? Why did you do this?  There’s a 3 foot deep hole in the middle of our lawn!  He shook his head, got back in the truck and left, about hour later he came back with dirt and grass seed filled the hole and planted grass seeds.  He came in the house and said well you did good job you got all the roots out, so grass will take hold nicely, but please stop ripping up plants and cutting down trees. I know that l did those things because I didn’t want to smell roses, or hear birds, I was angry at God I asked him to help me with my son not take him from me. I just wanted my son back.  I was in a very dark place at that point, I wanted to die. One day I was driving and I ran a red light on purpose and while in the intersection saw to my left a red car, coming towards me and it went right through me, I looked to the right and it continued up the ramp to I-95.  I now knew what a super natural experience felt like, I knew that was 100 % GOD who pulled me out of that, and saved the other driver.  I got out of the intersection, and pulled over parked and lost it.  I bowed my head and cried and prayed LORD please help me, I am so sorry for what I just did.  Please Lord just pull me out of this, as soon as I said that, I was instantly calm,  lifted my head looked around and saw where I pulled over, it was the parking lot of  an Adult pornographic place, of all the places to pull over I pick this spot, all I could think of, I have to get out of here, what if someone I know sees me they might think I was inside, then, I just started to laugh at myself for my parking choice and I thought, wow only you Lord could turn this around, a moment where this could have had an awful outcome, but he turned  it into laughter.  I got out of the parking lot but not before I promised God I would never try to hurt myself again.
While I never had thoughts of suicide again, I still had many questions for God to answer. The investigation of Gary’s death came to a stand-still, all I could think about was getting justice and so I asked God why don’t you give me justice, I want to see the face of this person, and tell them what they had done to me, and my family, I thought it would give me closure.   A year or so later my Nephew Carmine was murdered.  I asked my sister after the trial, what did she say when got to speak in court and face the young man that killed her son and she said, “I forgive you” and I hope he accepts Jesus in his heart. She said it didn’t give her closure and that it was the longest two weeks her life and it feels like Carmine died yesterday.
The next day I went to the cemetery and stood over Gary’s grave and I forgave the driver and prayed that they would also accept Jesus and come to know Gods love.  
The trial brought back old feelings and I started having dreams of Gary crying out from hell.  Each time I asked God to just let me know if Gary was with him, even though, at Gary’s funeral one of his friends, told me Gary was saved and I would see him again.  I wasn’t sure, I thought, Gary would have told me, why didn’t he tell me? These dreams continued for months. Then I got my answer from God, I had Jury Duty and was on the train going downtown.  I sat by myself up front thinking of the dream the night before, and facing the window because I didn’t want anyone to seeing me crying, and remembering my prayer for a sign that Gary was with the lord, suddenly while looking out the window, I saw Gary’s face in the glass, my tears stopped, I turned from the window and Gary was sitting across from me on the train.   He looked older, like 30, we shared a smile, and for some reason, I looked back out the window, turn back again toward the seat, he was gone, but that was the best 5 seconds.  I thought to myself, God is so good.  
Even though I had peace and knew Gary was ok. I still wanted to know why I didn’t get to say goodbye.  Three years later, friends of ours had a son who was on life support and wasn’t going to make it through the night.  I said to my Husband that’s good that they get to say goodbye, and we went to hospital to be supportive.  When I saw how broken they were afterward I realized I was wrong.  The day after Jason’s funeral, I went to the Cemetery and stood at Gary’s head stone and asked God, why, did Gary have to die.  Maybe if he had lived, even if he was a vegetable, I would still have him here with me and this wouldn’t be so hard.  Shortly after that I met a women at work, we became close friends and we were talking about our children and it turn out that she has a son who is a quadriplegic along with brain damage from a fall at work. I this point I realized God knows what I need he knew before I was born what my story would be and what I didn’t need. After that I was able to rest in him and I found peace.  But God knew I needed more, someone to hug and touch, so on July 14, 2004 My Grandson Julian Gary Colandrea was born.  He is the spitting image of Gary and when he got his 1st hair-cut at around 3 my daughter said I don’t want you to cry but look at Julian’s head, he had the same birth mark that Gary had on the side of his head.  I kissed his head and said thank you Jesus, and Julian looked up at me and said “I’m JULIAN”, and I busted out in laughter."

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This memorial is administered by:

Marylou Welch


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